One glass of clean water for the holidays
The most amazing element of the Holiday season is neither the surprising gifts nor the delicious food; it is the loving spirit of togetherness and love that drives the holiday magic. When fully understood and embraced as such, suddenly, the foods taste better, the lights shine brighter, and the moments seem perfect.
When I was 12 years old, I had my very first holiday season in America. Besides the below freezing temperature, the runny nose, and perfect snowflakes falling from the sky, it was the exact cheerful spirit of togetherness that I had experienced a year earlier in our modest 2 bedroom home in Port-au-Prince. I remember vividly how my siblings and I gathered around the elders as they told classic Haitian folktales. We did not have a tree or presents, but the holiday spirit was evident because of family, laughter, and love. That’s the Haiti that I remember and the memories that I cherish the most. However, the realities in Haiti this holiday season are different and cannot be ignored.
This holiday season, the people of Haiti are struggling to stay cool and dry under makeshift tents. Moreover, they are struggling to find clean water to protect themselves from the deadly cholera outbreak that has already claimed 2,535 lives. The virus to date has infected some 114,497 people, 55,000 of whom had to be hospitalized. There is no doubt that the current environment of uncertainty and fear has put a small strain on the traditional cheerful holiday spirit in Haiti. However, there is nothing that the people of Haiti cannot overcome. Especially, with your help and support.
As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, International Action made a commitment to provide clean, safe water for all 2.5 million Haitians in Port-au-Prince through the installation of our community-based water tanks equipped with our innovative chlorinators. This holiday season, we are determined to continue treating the water in neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, and orphanages throughout the capital city to help the people of Haiti enjoy the holidays sans waterborne diseases. Our staff is working around the clock installing water tanks and chlorinators in the most impoverished areas. They are also distributing hand soaps to the internally displaced people living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince. Every day, more people are being protected from cholera and other waterborne diseases.
International Action understands, recognizes, and believes that access to clean water is not an end in itself, but a mean to other ends; good health, happiness, and increased human capacity.
This holiday season, as you struggle with shopping lists, invitations, and new year resolutions, we encourage you not to forget the people of Haiti. A glass of clean water can bring a smile on a child’s face. Without adequate water, a cheerful holiday season is out of reach. Consider making a contribution to the people of Haiti this holiday season. One glass of clean water can cheer up many people and revive the holiday magic in many homes.
Happy holidays to you and yours!
Wesley & the International Action Team
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